By Grant Jacobs 25/02/2016

Book yourself into one of these public talks about different aspects of genetics in March — or catch some Antarctic science and learn more about what people study down on the ice.

Genetics at the New Zealand Festival

Rutherford-Creation-cover-197pxGeneticist and science presenter, Adam Rutherford is appearing in the New Zealand Festival as part of their Writer’s Week in two events. Adam Rutherford has presented BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science, created several TV series and advised movie-makers (including the sci-fi movie ex-Machina, which I still must see!) and to musician Björk. He is author of Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. He is currently working on another book.

Rutherford’s first event in the NZ Festival is Inside Science (3pm, Sat March 12th).

In another he will be part of a panel talking about The New Age of Genomics (9:30am, Sunday, March 13th), “discusses what advances in DNA sequencing might mean for sex, species design and resurrection, and perhaps even human survival.” The panel includes Peter Deardon (Genetics Otago, University of Otago, who writes Southern Genes at Sciblogs), Susan Morton (Director Growing up in New Zealand study,University of Auckland), and Colin Gavaghan (Director of the New Zealand Law Foundation Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies).

Lagoon-cover-197pxThere are other science-related events that might interest readers.

Many of you will also be science fiction fans. Some of you might like African-based Nnedi Okorafor’s talk, Magic Futurist. She is author of the African-flavoured Lagoon.

Richard Dawkins was to speak; ticket holders are being encouraged to retain their tickets for a later appearance (he is no longer travelling to NZ for health reasons).

I’ll let readers explore what the Festival offer under Tech Savvy, save for the Antarctic event covered below.

On the ice


Science historian, Rebecca Priestly, accompanied by Tim Naish and Rhian Salmon, will be speaking on Ice Science (5pm, At March 12th). Rebecca Priestley will also feature in the launch of the book Dispatches from Continent Seven: An Anthology of Antarctic that she edited (published by Awa Press). It’s free – at the Black Sparrow Bar, Embassy Theatre, 6pm March 12th (Wellington). (I’m told this book features a chapter by one of our scibloggers, Victoria Metcalf, who writes at the Ice Doctor.)

Genetics from the Royal Society

Adam Rutherford will also be touring New Zealand, with events in several cities. These are panels events, including local scientists, each covering different aspects of genetics.

March 15, Christchurch, Aurora Centre 6pm: Genetics and disease

March 17, Dunedin, St David Lecture Theatre, 7:30pm: Conservation genomics

March 21, Tauranga, Tauranga Yacht Club, 7pm: Family and genealogy (refreshments from 6:30pm)

March 22, Auckland, Auckland Museum Events Centre, 6pm: Genetics and health

Bookings for these can be made following the links provided at the Royal Society website.


The cover photograph is a low resolution image of von Walther Flemming’s illustration of cell division (mitosis) featuring chromosomes (the dark stained lines in the middle of the cells). The image is public domain, sourced from Wikipedia. The original is from 1882.

Other articles in Code for life:

Codebreakers – Wellcome traces the origins of modern genetics

Tracking disease and human migration through genetics

Genetic tests and personalised medicine, some science communication issues

Boney lumps, linkage analysis and whole genome sequencing

Autism genetics, how do you copy?

Finding platypus venom

François Jacob

0 Responses to “Public talks on genetics and Antarctic science in New Zealand in March”

  • There is also a free talk for schools, Is everything you know about genetics wrong? at 11 am, 15 March at Aurora Centre, Burnside High School, Christchurch.

    “BBC 4 science presenter and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford will take a walk through the story of genetics and show how we’re culturally predisposed to misunderstand it, from genes to fate to families to race. This talk will be of interest to all Year 11-13 school students and teachers and will include audience participation so bring your questions.”

    Further details are at the Royal Society webpage.

  • Genetics Otago are now saying that if you register for Mendeling with Genomes, you go in for a chance to win a ticket to Adam Rutherford’s presentation on March 17.

    Mendeling with Genomes is on March 8th, at 7pm, at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. Entry is free, but you have to register (see link above).

    As for the name, Gregor Mendel is the monk widely attributed with founding genetics with his studies on peas and the laws of segregation of traits that he developed.

    (Tidbit: he originally studied mice, but was asked to do something different because—aside from the smell—the studies involved mice having sex.)